I’m Neurotic and I’m Proud!

TRIGGER WARNING: This article may be triggering to some readers. Eating disorders, mental health, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors are discussed. Reader discretion is advised.

I hope my story helps you to help yourself. Love y’all.

To be honest, I’m not a fan of when people refer to themselves as a “type of person.” From my own experience, it’s been limiting; it’s something I would identify with as an excuse for subpar behavior. But it’s true that throughout my entire life, I’ve always had an extremely compulsive and addictive personality. From the foods I ate to the music I’d listen to; I was an “obsessive type of person.” (forgive me) I swear I think I ate a pickle a day for an entire year when I was 13.

We all have our baggage. Here lies a story of mine.

I didn’t know I had neurotic tendencies until about a few years ago. To be honest, I had no idea what being “neurotic” meant. For those who also don’t know, neurotic behavior consists of any form of mental disturbance, i.e. anxiety, depression, compulsive acts, all that good stuff. As I got older and life became more complicated, I developed low self-esteem, anxiety, and experienced extreme sadness. I was constantly trying to ignore these feelings and cope through anything I could. I would binge drink, binge eat, obsess over my body and my health, always think something was wrong with my body, assume others were always thinking negatively of me, and so on. Those are all separate topics I will most definitely dive deeper into someday, but that’s just some bite-size history of my own mental health struggles. I had no idea that the way I was living wasn’t right. All I knew was that I was very sad.

These feelings of sadness continue to come in waves. This past summer, I had just graduated with my Bachelor’s degree, signed with two new agencies, and was officially beginning my adult life. This should be a time of celebration rather than debilitating stress, which is what I created for myself. Without the structure of school and the busyness of senior year, I felt a loss of control over my days. To gain some form of control, my obsession over what I ate had developed into orthorexia. I wasn’t able to acknowledge it for what it is, orthorexia, until very recently. A part of this came with an obsession over how my body was functioning at all times. If my shits weren’t amazing, something was off. If I was bloated, I must’ve overeaten. I avoided going out with friends, not because I didn’t want to drink, but because I didn’t want to gain weight from drinking. The stress I put myself under got so overwhelming that I experienced three months of on-and-off chronic constipation. I tried every diet or cleanse; I even saw a gastroenterologist that was way too expensive and told me nothing that I didn’t already know. I was desperate. At one point, I woke up one morning (whilst being constipated) and thought that I peed blood. Crying and panicking, I rushed to the hospital thinking that I had a UTI or that my kidneys were failing. I found out later that day it was just my period.

People can become neurotic through the things they experience in life or the false beliefs they develop. We all carry our own false beliefs about ourselves, the world, life, etc. I experienced a lot of pain and trauma from when I was fifteen to twenty years old. Three years-ish later, I’m able to look back with a developed perspective; I now know that I have developed such a fear for my health because I experienced actual kidney failure in 2017 from a laceration infection. I’m grateful for the awareness I’ve developed, but it took three years to get here and I’m not even close to where I want to be. It’s taken years of failed attempts to feel better, using everything outside of myself to try achieving happiness when all I had to do was look inside.

This stuff feels ugly to talk about. I almost feel gross sharing so openly how imperfect I am. But, I’m doing it anyway knowing how badly I wish I knew someone who may have had similar experiences to my own when I was struggling. I vividly remember the first time I was told I was neurotic. I went on to ask my friends for weeks if they think I’m “too much” or “crazy.” Now I’m able to own up and say yes, I have my moments. And I’ll continue to have my moments until the day I die. I can acknowledge that and still pledge to work on bettering myself every day rather than succumb as a victim to my past. Odds are if you’re reading this, you’re probably a neurotic biotch too. If you often think you are crazy like I do, know that you’re not alone. I think to be alive is to be insane. Embrace every part of yourself — the beautiful, the ugly, the hurt, the wanting — and take a good hard look at it. Give that psycho a hug, they’ve probably been needing one for a long time.